The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based group that promotes small-scale organic farming, has filed a complaint with the USDA, claiming Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch does not follow practices that earn it the right to carry the “organic” label on its eggs.
The organization filed the complaint on December 10, saying Herbruck’s Green Meadows organic egg production facilities near Saranac, Michigan, and a Herbruck contractor farm near Mulligan, Michigan, don’t meet USDA organic standards.
The Cornucopia Institute claims Herbruck’s egg production facilities fail to meet USDA standards that are supposed to allow the birds access to the outdoors, reported Michigan Live. Aerial photographs taken on August 15 show there are outdoor porches, but few hens use them, the group contends.
Greg Herbruck, executive vice president of the egg production company, said the Cornucopia complaint is the same one the USDA rejected several years ago against Herbruck and other large-scale egg producers who keep roofs on henhouses to prevent contact with other wildfowl and contaminants that could make their eggs less safe.
Herbruck's Poultry Ranch, whose organic and non-organic farms produce an estimated 60 percent of Michigan’s eggs, produces what are considered organic eggs at its Green Meadows facility, a farm with seven two-story hen houses that contain about 85,000 birds each.
The porches on the Green Meadow hen houses meet USDA guidelines for organic egg production that were established in 2002, Herbruck said, and the company is subject to annual audits by Quality Assurance International.
Herbruck added that the photographs showing their contract farms near Mulligan are facilities no longer used for organic egg production, but instead are now used to raise pullets.